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10 March 2012

A Story from my Husband

Evidently, there are no donkeys in Uganda (readers, feel free to confirm or deny that information).

When my husband was in Iraq back in 2009, he found himself one day sharing a guard tower with a pair of soldiers from Uganda, who were working for a Greek company providing security on the base. A donkey happened to wander by, and one of the Ugandans, mystified, asked "What kind of animal is that?"

"It's a donkey," Greg replied, and went back to writing a novel in his little green Army notebook by the night-vision-friendly light of a red flashlight lens.

"Is it a kind of dog?"

After a moment of fumbling around for an explanation, my husband was able to explain that donkeys were related to horses but not quite the same thing. Evidently, there are horses in Uganda, so there was sufficient context for this explanation.

The lack of donkeys seems to detract in no way from Ugandans' pride in their country.

At some point, the conversation in the guard tower turned to the sort of question bored troops the world over must have asked each other a million times. "If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?" (Strangely, the answer is never "right here in this beautiful and relaxing war zone, of course.")

"Uganda," the security guys replied with enthusiasm. "The most beautiful country in the world."

Flora and fauna may vary, but fondness for home is universal, and sometimes strange animals can be explained. If there is hope for peace in this world, that's a good place to start.

P.S. Greg was telling this story the other day (in the middle of the fabric store, because our lives are strange) to a co-worker who had been with him on the Iraq deployment but missed out on the apparent amazing cultural experience that was guard tower duty. For some reason, I woke up thinking about it today, and I hope he doesn't mind me borrowing it.

1 comment:

  1. Photo by Evgeni Dinev at, which is a super-awesome resource.


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